Danielle Stella of Minneapolis wants Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to know she’s gunning for her seat.
Her campaign website describes her as a Republican and a special education needs professional who “did not hold… aspirations to run for political office.”
“However, as a result of the lack of honorable representation for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, she believes it is her duty and privilege to stand up and speak for the forgotten American citizens in the district and throughout the state.”
Her list of positions includes steadfast support for President Trump, protecting conservative voices from suppression on platforms like Twitter, bolstering the right to bear arms, and making sure "choice starts in the bedroom.”
You may not have heard of Stella, unless you keep an eye on the far-right corners of the internet, where her campaign made a small splash in June. Not because of the sentiments she was tweeting, necessarily, though her lengthy threads raging against Omar have certainly turned a few heads. But because of some apparent subtext in her posts.
Last week, she responded to an apparently liberal Twitter user with the following tweet:
Not true. My political party fights for our Constitutional rights that your side of the party is trying so hard to destroy, in order to turn us into a socialist third world Country. They aren't even trying to hide their hatred of America and their lies anymore. #WWG1WGA— Danielle Stella (@2020MNCongress) July 20, 2019
That cumbersome hashtag stands for “Where we go one, we go all,” which is a motto of the internet conspiracy group QAnon. It would take an entirely separate post to cover the basics of the group’s claims (check out this piece for more detail), but the gist is that Trump has been secretly holding an evil Democratic deep-state cabal at bay while a supposed Washington insider leaves cryptic messages about it in conservative forums.
Pedophilia rings and satanic cults are also somehow involved.
A few people have been tweeting at Stella to ask about the hashtag and other seeming QAnon giveaways – like the big “Q” pendant she wore in a picture posted last week. (Her account favorited several comments from QAnon followers who themselves took the jewelry as a sign of support). The Daily Beast pointed out that her account also follows a smattering of QAnon promoters.
Minnesota District 5, I'm challenging @IlhanMN for this seat, to serve the great men, women and children. I will fight for everyone's voice to be heard. https://t.co/5qDT8h24ww #Stella2020 #StandUnited #IlhanMustGo pic.twitter.com/X5jpwyqvQs— Danielle Stella (@2020MNCongress) July 23, 2019
Stella didn’t respond to interview requests, so it’s impossible to say how she feels about QAnon. The Beast piece says a former Stella staffer claims the apparent QAnon love was just a ruse to gain more far-right support.
“She tries to portray herself as she supports it, but she doesn’t even understand it,” Jodi Larson, a former aide, told the Beast. “She just wears it to get attention.” (In an unrelated grievance, another former staffer, Scott Kartman, told the Beast he was considering filing a police report if Stella didn’t return his laptop.)
If Stella really just wants attention, she’s got it. There’s plenty of love from far-right and QAnon-loving commenters on her feed. But some local Twitter users are not exactly impressed.
“I didn’t realize a bot could run for Congress,” one tweeted.
“WTF?” another asked.
“It’s weird that your replies are full of racists. What’s up with that?” a third chimed in.
If Stella is actually a Q-er, she’s not the first to attempt a congressional run this year. Matthew Lusk, a Florida bookseller, announced his campaign for the House and told the Beast he believes QAnon posts add up to a “legitimate something” and should be treated as a news source on par with CNN or Fox News.